all set for Real Sociedad!
Real Madrid takes on Xabi’s beloved former (and quite possibly future) team at the Bernabéu tonight at 20h. It’s been a strange couple of days, with nothing coming out of the club. Hopefully, we can get a decisive win today and put everything behind us, since we have an important game coming up against APOEL and another at the always difficult Reyno de Navarra against Osasuna next Saturday.
The team continued with the silence on Thursday and Friday, with no training sessions open to the public (and no information revealed, other than that the sessions took place) and no press conference from either of the coaches. The only announcement was the list of players called up for the game against Real Sociedad. Nineteen players were called up for the game, 17 from the first team plus two canteranos. Fábio Coentrão and Raúl Albiol return to the list, while Di María, Callejón and Carvalho are missing out due to injury and Pepe, Mesut Özil and Lass due to sanction.
Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Tomás Mejías.
Defenders: Varane, Arbeloa, Marcelo, Ramos, Albiol, Coentrão.
Midfielders: Altintop, Sahin, Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Granero, Kaká.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuaín, Benzema, Jesé.
Sergio wore one of the club colors as he arrived for the training session, and is he really a fan of the Yankees, or does he just like the clothes? And of course, he matched his bag to his shirt.
The media are reporting that José Mourinho has “forgiven” Coentrão for smoking by calling him up for the game. With regards to that incident, Fábio Coentrão told Portuguese media outlet “Record” that “it was an isolated incident. I’m quite disappointed with what has been written, since no one can accuse me of anything. I’m an excellent professional, I always gave everything I had for the clubs I played for and it’s not right to judge me based on an isolated incident.” He also said reports that he had a huge party that night at his home were “a complete lie.”
Meanwhile, Jesé tweeted a photo with “two cracks” from the hotel. Guess he didn’t get the memo on the “law of silence.”
And this is MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín’s latest twitter profile pic! ¡¡Adorable!!
On Friday, the decisions of the Competition Committee regarding sanctions as a result of the incidents in the Villarreal-Madrid game were released, as well as the decisions of the Appeals Committee in response to the appeals lodged by Real Madrid.
– Sergio Ramos: the first yellow card and subsequent expulsion were annulled. The first yellow card was annulled because the committee believed the referee’s reason for the card (“persistently infringing on the rules of the game”) was too vague. The club was fined €60 for Sergio’s second yellow card (Articles 111.1.a and 52).
– Mesut Özil: a one-game suspension based on Article 119 of the Disciplinary Code (for making gestures or movements considered offensive). He was also fined €600 and the club €90 (Articles 52 and 119).
– Pepe: a two-game suspension based on Article 117 for yelling at the referees. He was also fined €600 and the club €180 (Articles 52 and 117). The yellow card Pepe received during the course of the game was annulled, as the committee understood that Pepe was not “simulating” being injured and that he had fallen due to “the impact of a rival.”
– José Mourinho: a one-game suspension for his two yellow cards and subsequent expulsion. He was also fined €600 and the club €90 (Articles 52, 113 and 111.1c).
– Rui Faria: a two-game suspension based on Articles 119, 11 and 12. He was also fined €600 and the club €180 (Articles 52, 119, 11 and 12).
The Appeals Committee made the following decisions after Madrid appealed Pepe’s two-game suspension, Mesut’s one-game suspension, Mou’s one-game suspension and Rui Faria’s two-game suspension, upholding all of them and adding:
– Pepe: the punishment was considered adequate, and the Competition Committee could have invoked Article 94 and suspended Pepe for at least four games. The Appeals Committee also rejected Madrid’s argument that the referee’s mistake in giving Pepe a yellow card earlier in the game invalidates how the referee acted after the game. What a dumb argument! What are the lawyers on?
On Thursday, Real Madrid presented the “Real Madrid Resort Island” project at the Bernabéu. This project, to be built on the artificial island of Al Marjan, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, consists of an amusement park; a five-star luxury hotel with 450 rooms; 48 villas; a luxury resort with 60 bungalows; a beach resort with 450 apartments; a club museum; a marina (in the form of the escudo) and yacht club; a shopping mall; and a stadium seating 10,000 that is open to the sea (for sports and cultural events). There will also be athletic installations, such as training fields, basketball courts, swimming pools, etc. It will be spread out over 50 hectares, and be completed and open for business in January 2015. The total investment is around €760 million. The promoters said this resort “is designed to attract families, athletes, Real Madrid fans and the general public.”
FP presided over the presentation, accompanied by José Mourinho (who did not look at all happy to be there), Iker, Sergio, Karim, Zinedine Zidane and Emilio Butragueño.
The executive director of the project, Louis-Armand de Rouge, told Marca that “we chose Real Madrid out of all the options because it’s the most followed club out of the big European clubs in the UAE. The most recognized players there are Cristiano and Benzema.” He also said the first team will inaugurate the stadium in 2015 when it opens, schedule permitting.
Watch the promo video here. And here are some of the things I expect to see in the Resort Island:
– when you enter, a photographer will be waiting for you, and you’ll have to pose with your thumbs up (a cardboard cutout of José Callejón will be on hand for those so inclined). You’ll have the option to buy the photo when you leave, like on cruise ships.
– all of the housing choices will come with the “Benzema option,” that is, no furniture.
– there will be a game in the amusement park with one of those mechanical bulls, except it will be in the form of José Callejón, so that you can pretend you’re Mou riding on Callejón’s back.
– the shopping mall will include at least four stores selling those purses so favored by Iker. And there will be the biggest Gucci store in the world, with exclusive merchandise, to attract Cristiano (and Sergio) to go there.
– there will be symposiums at the stadium to discuss Esteban Granero-approved literature, music and film choices that will be basically unintelligible to the general public.
– the beach will be named after Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos. The shaded area will be named after Iker.
I have a lot more, but we have to move on with the post, since we’re losing one hour today…
Mesut Özil spoke with UEFA recently, and in the interview, he revealed that he has joked around with his Portuguese teammates, since Portugal and Germany are in the same group at the upcoming Eurocopa: “there are a few jokes during training with the Portuguese colleagues. We tell them we will beat them, they say they will beat us, and so on.”
Here are a few more tidbits from the Father’s Day video Iker shot with Philips.
on his style: it’s casual, simple. I like to be up to date, but I’m not very meticulous when it comes to clothes. The most important thing is for me to feel comfortable. But it’s also true that when I have to dress up for an occasion, I’ll do it.
on his favorite articles of clothing for spring: the most important thing is that the clothes are cool and summery, for example, a pair of Bermuda shorts and flip flops.
on what he splurges on: I don’t buy any luxury items such as cars, watches or clothes. The only splurges I made were the car I bought two years ago and the house.
on whether he’d like to have kids: yes, I would, I really do like kids. I helped my father to raise my little brother, who is eight years younger. I also helped to take care of my younger cousins.
According to Marca, Madrid already has a tentative plan in place for next summer’s pre-season. The team will return at the beginning of July. On July 27, they’ll play Benfica in Lisbon. On July 28, the team will travel to Los Angeles, where they will once again stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel and train at UCLA, just like the two previous pre-seasons. In the U.S., Madrid will play three games of the World Football Challenge tournament as they seek to defend the title. They’ll play the New England Revolution in Los Angeles (date still unknown), Manchester City in Boston on Aug. 5 and Inter in New York on Aug. 11. Then the team will return to Madrid, although those players called up for La Roja will remain behind (just like in 2010) as they are set to play a friendly in Puerto Rico on Aug. 15.
Which of you are making plans already?